Ruidoso Downs is a horse racing track in Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico. More commonly known as the Ruidoso Downs Race Track and Billy the Kid Casino, it is one of the country’s premier quarter horse racetrack. The track also hosts thoroughbred racing, but the All American Futurity is the richest quarter horse race in the world, with a purse over $30 million, much more than the Kentucky Derby purse. Ruidoso Downs has been the home of the All American Futurity since it was first contested in 1959 with a whopping purse of $129,000.

The track was built in the 1940s after a flood covered Ruidoso Downs with gravel and silt. Some of the bets taken at the time went all the way from bags of oats to $10,000 or $50,000. An Arizona investor named Eugene Hensley bought the venue in 1953 and made a number of expansions to it until 1959, when the trio comprised of Hensley, Carl Mercer, and Ray Reed created the All-American Futurity.

Having fallen into a state of disrepair, most of the track was purchased by R.D. Hubbard in 1988. Hubbard invested several million dollars in improvements and later added simulcast racing and wagering. Then came a sales pavilion and a sports theatre, where the Ruidoso Select Yearling Sale is held. An adjacent casino was also opened up by Hubbard. Added to the track in 1999, the Billy the Kid Casino has over 300 slot machines.

The facilities have also hosted races as diverse as camel and ostrich races; concerts by artists such as Toby Keith and Emilio Navaira have also been held here. In September, it also hosts the Grade I All American Derby, which carries a purse of $1,900,000. Ruidoso Downs Racetrack and Billy the Kid Casino run races every summer from Memorial Day until Labor Day. Currently, the venue holds the Ruidoso Futurity and the Rainbow Futurity which, coupled with the All-American Futurity, constitute the Triple Crown of quarter horse racing.

The Kentucky Derby trophy won by War Admiral in1937 is kept on display at the venue.

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Ruidoso Downs Racetrack Facts:

  • Racecourse type: American Quarter Horse Oval racetrack.
  • Location: Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico
  • Purse: The All American Futurity has a $1 million purse for first place and a total purse of $2 million
  • Venue Capacity: N/A
  • Track length: quarter horse track 550 yards, main track 7 furlongs, 660-foot homestretch
  • Important track records: N/A.